Practicing is a weird state of mind. I can pile up the hours on a specific piece and not see any progress. For me, I’m exactly at the same step as I started. Discouraging. Woes is me! Sometimes, I try to quantize things. I would try the song or the exercise with a metronome and watch how much faster I get after three days or a week. It could happen that I don’t get faster at all. I get stuck at the same number, desperately slow, and that’s it. Discouraging.
I also try to smooth out the difficult passages. That’s like taking a microscope and looking right into the eyes of the challenge, like staring it down, and let’s see who budges first! Sometimes it moves and I beat it to the ground, sometimes I’m trying to carve a piece of granite with a wet sponge. It’s no use. Discouraging.
I can spend hours, days to think of the way to defeat a particular problem. I can dream of it at night, yes, I’m very special that way. I come up with fantastic solutions, thinking to invent all sorts of gadgets to make me improve, get my hands and brain to do what I want. I can be pretty creative. Sometimes it helps and I get a break through, huzzah! Oh, not with any gizmos, no, those stay in the confine of my mind. But, I must confess, sometimes, it doesn’t make a dent: no progress. Discouraging.
So, why do I keep practicing and putting myself to such torture? I’ll tell you why. It’s because it helps. No, not the music. It doesn’t necessarily helps me to be a better player. It helps ME. In my life. It forces my brain to keep functioning, to keep the fight, to hope. Because when you confront a problem and you’re trying to beat it, you have to hope you can do it, no matter how hard, no matter how tedious it is. You put all you’ve got into it, the stakes couldn’t be higher. You get involved, I tell you. You pride is on the line. And it teaches you not to give up. Or to not give up easily. I become a better person. Now, that’s encouraging!